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Archive for September, 2011

Environmental Initiative: Here to Help

September 28th, 2011

I’m from Environmental Initiative and I’m here to help. Does that make you suspicious? “I’m here to help” generally raises doubts because most of us have found even well meaning individuals and organizations have an agenda of their own. You may be offering to help me, but isn’t this really all about you?

Of course Environmental Initiative has an agenda, but that agenda is to help partners come together and solve problems on their own terms. In the past nineteen years, we’ve striven to remain free of any specific policy agenda or position so we can be of genuine service to government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations who see an opportunities for partnership to improve our environment. (more…)

Mike Harley


Executive Director

Policy Forum Recap – What Is Needed for Minnesota’s Future Energy Infrastructure?

September 22nd, 2011

If you are reading this blog post you are either (a) a true energy geek, (b) paid to care about what kind of energy infrastructure we have in this state, (c) a concerned citizen who deserves an award for caring so much about the common good, (d) desperately looking for a distraction from whatever else you should be doing, or (e) possibly all of the above.

“Infrastructure” is one of those ten-dollar words that policy wonks love to use because it’s so economical—it can describe a million different things all in one little word. In the case of energy, it can cover everything from power plants and transmission lines, to the emerging “smart grid” and “smart meters” that give real-time information about how much energy we are using and its cost.


Rolf Nordstrom


Great Plains Institute

School Buses, Snow Plows, and More: Updates from the Project Green Fleet Team

September 15th, 2011

Today’s post brings you clean air updates from our whole Project Green Fleet staff team – Bill Droessler, Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning; Andrea Robbins, Manager of Environmental Projects; and Eric David, Senior Environmental Project Associate.

Frost warnings this week… Really? Two days after nearly hitting 90 degrees, that is twisted Minnesota fall weather. And more importantly, with fall comes school buses, and snow plows not far behind.

Since 2006, Project Green Fleet has worked with many school districts and bus companies to install pollution control equipment on nearly 3,000 school buses (with hundreds more in the works).  We are completing retrofits with nearly all of the larger school bus fleets in the state and are focusing on recruiting and working with many smaller, more rural school districts and fleets across Minnesota. Our latest information shows that there are fewer eligible buses than originally estimated. There are bus headlights at the end of the tunnel: we likely will be making plans next year for an end game to school bus retrofits.


Bill Droessler


Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

Passion, Programs, and Processes

September 6th, 2011

I was very honored to be invited to join the Board of Directors at Environmental Initiative earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed my first board meeting.  My name is Marian Bender, and I came to know Environmental Initiative through my work as Executive Director of Minnesota Waters, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing citizen engagement in saving Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. I have also served as Development Director and Interim Executive director of Friends of the River, California’s statewide river conservation organization. I bring years of marketing experience in the high-tech sector and for small businesses. I made the switch from for-profit to nonprofit about ten years ago, after rapidly climbing the ladder at a high tech publishing and trade-show business in San Francisco, and finding nothing I liked at the top. I realized I wanted to put my energy and skills to work to make the world a better place, even if that meant giving up big marketing budgets, all-expenses-paid travel and rapid growth.  I’ve never looked back! (more…)

Marian Bender


Facilitator, Parks and Trails Legacy Funding Project
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